Before the Snow Falls
The Greenbelt Public Works Department begins preparing for winter as early as September or October. All snow equipment is serviced, mounted, and checked to see that it is in good working order. Road salt is stockpiled so that enough is on hand for a number of storms.
During snow season, the department monitors official daily weather condition reports and will alert crews before the bad weather is due to arrive.
When the Snow Starts Falling
Keeping the streets open for traffic is top priority. This allows police, fire, ambulances, and other emergency service vehicles to continue to provide necessary services and for citizens to safely travel to and from their destinations.
The first step in clearing the snowfall is road and street salting. Main roads and city streets which are most heavily traveled year-round are salted first. Connecting public streets and public residential areas are then serviced. Private streets and areas are the responsibility of the homeowners.
Snow removal operations begin when frozen precipitation starts falling. De-icing rock salt is spread on the roads and streets to melt the snow and ice. This continues until the surfaces are clear or it is no longer effective due to the depth of the snow.
When the Snowfall Continues
When two or three inches of snow have accumulated and more is expected, snow is more effectively removed by plowing rather than by salting. Main roads and streets, connecting public thoroughfares, and public residential streets will be plowed by the Public Works Department. Snow and ice clearing in private streets and areas is the responsibility of the homeowners.
Our first priority is to open the main streets. These streets are the key to maintaining a steady flow of traffic since most residents live within a few blocks of such routes. The snowplows then continue to all streets on the route to open up each one in sequence. If the storm intensity continues, the snowplows continue the same pattern to keep the routes open until the snowfall abates.
The snowplows then begin to widen out all routes by pushing the accumulated snow back towards the curb line and clearing the intersections.
Remember that our trained crews work around the clock during such storms to keep the roads open and passable.
Problems or Concerns
If there is a problem concerning road conditions, advise the Public Works Department at 301-474-8004. For fire or medical emergencies, dial 9-1-1. The Greenbelt Police emergency number is 301-474-5454. Use the police non-emergency number, 301-474-7200, for all other police calls.
When the Snowfall Ends
Snow crews continue to monitor all roads for icy spots and areas where winds have re-deposited the snow in traffic lanes. An application of salt (or salt mixed with sand) is applied so the riding surface will remain drivable. Crews are dispatched to clear road drain inlets and catch basins so that melting snow can run off.
You may wish to avoid a potential problem and also be of assistance to you neighbors by cleaning off a catch basin inlet or shoveling out a nearby fire hydrant.
Helping us Help
A heavy snowstorm can disrupt the normal flow of everyday living and be a frustrating experience. We have compiled some tips that can help eliminate some of the frustration.
Trash & Recycling Collection
Walkways to your refuse containers and recycling bins must be kept clear of snow and ice in order for the collectors to provide service to your home. During significant snow / ice storms and the days immediately following, containers must be placed at the curb (single family homes) or adjacent to a cleared parking lot (GHI homes).
For additional information, please contact the Public Works Department at 301-474-8004.